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The Reason Men Gather: Thoughts on Flag Burning

The below video is about a FedEx driver who sees a group of people protesting by burning the US flag. He’s offended. He takes their flag. He stands up for what he thinks is right which in this instance is that they should not be permitted to burn the flag.

Toward the end of the video someone says something very interesting.

The below video should play right at the spot I’m discussing.

“Can we form a circle around these guys?”

And there you have it in a nutshell: civilization.

Since the dawn of man we have been forming a circle around each other as a means of protection. We do it to protect ourselves, our families, and our property. The cave man understood “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” just as well as Thomas Jefferson did when he lent his hand to the Declaration of Independence.

Which is why I found this video so ironic.

Those burning the flag learn in one moment just what that flag represents while the man protecting the flag, in his zeal for the emblem of freedom, fails it utterly.

I don’t think people should burn the flag. I think doing so is an act of ingratitude. I once heard it said that “ingratitude is a sin worse that revenge for revenge returns evil for evil but ingratitude returns evil for good.” While there are flaws in any country, in any ideology of man, America has given the world the best government history has ever seen in terms of freedom. It is that very freedom that allows them to burn the flag.

At the same time I don’t see steeling someone’s flag as a noble defense of the American ideology of liberty. Property rights are at the heart of our culture. We believe that man has the right to own property and the right to dispose of it. If that disposal is through burning – it is that man’s right – since he owns the property. People come up with all kinds of motivation to take from others. Taking the flag to protect it is no more noble than steeling a car because you “need it more than he does”.

There can be no anarchy among humans

Anarchy is defined several ways but here I mean it as, “absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.” I propose that this is impossible. Take the video for example. In a moment a government is formed. A leader calls for a circle, a circle is formed. That is government. Limited, no doubt, but government still.

Your family is a government. It has a hierarchy of power, expectations, rules, punishments for violations. It’s a government.

Your work place is a government. It exists in the same regard as a family. There is a hierarchy of power, expectations, rules, punishments for violations. It’s a government.

It is in the very nature and essence of human beings to form governments.

To call for anarchy is ignorant, naive, or just plain silly depending on how you view it.

Society is not Socialism

Rather than the “absolute freedom of the individual” I propose that the proper form of government is one that protects the unalienable rights of man. You might be saying to yourself (perhaps in a bit of a huff) “that’s the kind of government we have now!” It’s the kind of government we should have, that we are supposed to have, and that was designed.

For the most part we do a very good job. As I say above, much better than any other nation on earth. But over the decades we have drifted away from the protection of the individual’s rights to the more socialist ideas of protecting the individual from himself and from failure. We’re now a country of safety nets and regulations. Things that were previously done by families and churches, or secular charities are now done by government organizations at taxpayer expense.

You can’t drive in your car without wearing a seat belt. You are punished if you do. The list of things you can’t do is long. You are punished even no one gets hurt just because someone might possibly get hurt. Even if the only person that could possibly get hurt is you.

It is not charity, nor is it kindness, when it is forced. Socialism (including communistic forms) are not high ideals, nor noble endeavors. As history has proved these are wicked forms of government that control men and take from them. Rather than forming a circle for protection socialism herd men into a group and takes from them.

Those who advocate for socialism are immoral.

To road back to the gathering

Anarchy and socialism see like far ends of the government spectrum but they each have a bit of the truth in them. One ignores the natural human tendency for social organization and the legitimate need for the protection groups provide but respects the man and the other smothers a man and robs him of the virtue of self reliance and pretends that forced giving is the same as charity but understands the need for mutual cooperation.

Too much of either is disaster.

The Founding Fathers crafted a document that many see as inspired. What made it so was actually its simplicity. The American form of government as created is elegant. The road back is the same road that brought us forward, a deep and faithful understanding of the Constitution as American scripture. To be studied, understood, quoted, and followed as if it were sacred because indeed it is. We do not get our rights from it anymore than a Christian gets his morality from the bible. But each outlines in text those truths which already exist.

All men are created equal and have a right to be alive, to be at liberty, to seek their own happiness, whatever form it takes and they have an obligation to allow all men to do the same. That is the road back to freedom and road forward for America. Sometimes standing firmly on that road and respecting that sacred truth, means allowing an ungrateful and ignorant group of fools to burn the flag.

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